1/21/10                                                                                       View Comments

Poverty as a Testimony

By Eveningmeadows

Awhile ago, I had a thought that I was quite surprised about. I had thought that my life was a "testimony" when I was a xtian. I was told that we were all created with a purpose, and whatever happened in our lives, it was god's will. Well, out of the blue, I started thinking about that statement. Was it a testimony for me to live in poverty?

I was thinking about how ridiculous that thought was! I was working for some middle-class women who had comfortable lives. They had nice houses, new cars, medical and dental insurance, vacations. This is where the stupid part comes in! I started working with these women after my ex had left me for the last time with two small children. I didn't receive child support, I drove a really old car that didn't give me much confidence on long trips. I lived in a third floor apartment in an area that these nice women wouldn't choose to live in, and didn't. My apartment didn't have any insulation to speak of, so my kids and I, during the winter, dressed in two pairs of socks, long johns under our pants, turtlenecks and sweaters. We couldn't do much but sit on the couch bundled up under blankets! I would boil water on the really cold days to try to warm the place up a bit! I was on food stamps, and on a welfare to work program because I didn't make enough money. On top of that, I was miserably depressed.

Somehow in the midst of all this, I honestly thought that they would be able to see god in my life, and what a testimony I was through this rather miserable life I had! I thought that I somehow would have some part in their possible conversion! Can you imagine! Why would women who have nice comfortable lives, with or without a belief in god, look at me in my depression and poverty and say to themselves, "Why look at how god is taking care of this person, I want to accept Jesus as my savior also!" Hallelujah and praise the lord, what a testimony my life was to these people! Talk about being brainwashed and delusional. I was thinking about that time in my life, and I had never thought about it quite that way before! It seems like the layers of brainwashing take a lot of time to peel away.

What they were probably thinking, and what I would be thinking now is, if this god is so loving and great, why is he allowing this woman to live like this? Their god had certainly blessed them more than mine had blessed me! And since I spent ALL my free time in the church, giving my money to the church, working myself to death in the church, shouldn't god have been bestowing more blessings upon me?

In the midst of all this, I actually believed that god was good, and was taking care of me! I was grateful for his blessings! Hadn't he given me this cheap place to live, so what if it was freezing in the winter! Didn't he allow my old car to keep running? Didn't I have enough money to pay my bills and that, of course, was because I was tithing! So I didn't dare stop. He gave me grace to continue on even though I was in a deep, horrible depression! Praise the lord! And all these blessing were because of my faith in this god and serving him obediently. And it wasn't my place to question god as to why my life was like this when other xtians lived rather comfortable lives. This was god's will, and I just had to accept it, he would bless me someday!

Now on that day I asked myself, why didn't god just heal me of my depression? He could have easily done that, heal me of the low self esteem which is a by product of depression, and clear my head of all the cobwebs. With all that gone, I would have had the ability to get a handle on my life and make some smart choices about my future. He could have pointed me in the right direction, and gave me a big push! But, nothing. Now in my opinion, that would have been a better testimony to god's goodness, than god's supposely blessings that weren't really there. And I honestly believed all that hook, line and sinker! My life as is was, was god's will, he was using me to glorify him, to show others of his goodness and his love! I feel so duped and lied to!

I had made choices in my life that led me to where I was. I was made to believe that I wasn't able to take care of myself, that I needed god because I was so needy. I think alot of my thinking was because of the depression, and because I was divorced. I was not thinking clearly, so all this made sense and fed into my guilt. I've read again and again on this site the stories of people struggling with depression who fell into religion also. We all believed different lies.

When this thought came to me, the hurt at being lied to, manipulated, crushed, and anger at all that just overwhelmed me. I can't believe that I excepted all that as truth! I can't believe that it took so many years to see how damaging that religious teaching was. I was never to ask why god didn't heal me, why my life, as it was, was god's will. Why was I supposed to believe that god had blessed me, when it was obvious when compared to others, it wasn't. I believe deep inside, I had grave doubts about his blessings on my life, but didn't dare voice them, because I was afraid of god's wrath if I did!

These questions and others finally did the belief in a loving and just god in. Keep the poor slobs believing in all this garbage so they will continue to work for god's blessing in their miserable lives. Working for the church, that is.